Capesize rates traded in a narrow range during a week that saw the BDI drop to a record low. At the start there were some minor gains but as the week closed out and the Lunar New Year approached rates came under downward pressure. Rates on the key West Australia/China run for 10 to 20 days hence hovered around $4.35 to $4.40 range. Timecharter trading was limited although there were rumours a 180,000 tonner fixed for a West Australia round at something under $5,000 daily.
There was a touch more activity from Brazil but rates were just holding over $10.00. Vale booked a 5-15 March 160,000-tonne 10% cargo from Tubarao to Qingdao and one for slightly earlier dates around the low $10.00s. Cargill fixed a couple of ships one for end February-early March at $10.17 and one for 5-14 March at $10.00 and was said to be there for another.
Transatlantic rates came under pressure with rumours a Cargill booking a 4-13 March cargo for 150,000 tonnes 10% from Bolivar to Rotterdam in the mid $5.00 range having earlier fixed a cargo for 15-20 March at $6.05. Fronthaul trading was limited with reports earlier this week of a 170,000 tonne 10% cargo fixing Seven Islands/Qingdao at $16.40.
Rates here saw some gains as the week closed out but few were predicting whether this would last. There remained a significant volume of ships but owners were resisting low rates particularly for US Gulf/transatlantic cargoes and fronthaul with some limited gains evident. A 74,000 tonner agreed $9,000 daily and a $90,000 bonus from Colombia to Continent-Mediterranean options. A different scenario further south where rates remained in the doldrums for ships wanting east coast South America/transatlantic business and faced with aps rates and no bonus. An 82,000 tonner fixed from Santarem to Gibraltar-Skaw range at $8,500 daily with the ship coming from Italy. For trips east there was talk a 75,000 tonner fixed from east coast South America for 5-15 March at $11,250 daily plus a $150,000 bonus.
In the East there has been a significant volume of fixing but whether this was prompted by the Lunar New Year holidays remained to be seen. Charterers were seeing resistance to aps rates for NoPac cargoes and a 74,000 tonner open Japan fixed a NoPac round at $4,000 daily. However charterers were still able to secure Indonesia cargoes on short runs in some cases aps and no bonus. A 75,000-tonner reportedly fixed from Indonesia to south China at $4,000 daily.
Period business was in evidence and earlier in the week charterers had been able to secure ships with a discount for the first 10 to 15 days but as the week closed out charterers were once again paying flat rates.
In the Atlantic, another tough week for the owners with a feeling that the slightly better tone in the US Gulf for the early positions was now not so evident. A 2005 built 55,280 dwt unit was reported to have been booked by a grain house for a trip from the US Gulf to Singapore-Japan at about $9,000 daily. On this side, a 2011 built 56,000 dwt ‘Mitsui’ type was reportedly booked for a trip with scrap delivery Rotterdam for a trip via St.Petersburg to Turkey at $8,750 daily. A reasonable rate under the circumstances albeit involving a breach of INL.
Levels for handysizes in the US Gulf remain low, where a wood pellets cargo was rumoured to have gone from Florida to the Continent around $5,800 daily. Much the same story in South America with poor rates being bid although as the week draws to a close there is evidence of a bit more enquiry. Activity during the week includes a 34,000 tonner fixing from south Brazil to west Mediterranean at $6,000 daily.
In the East, difficulties continue for the owners as the sheer volume of available tonnage continues to weigh on the market. A nice 2011 built 56,000 dwt vessel was booked delivery NoPac for a trip back to the UK-Cont with wood-pellets at about $7,750 daily with no ballast bonus involved. Further south, a 2014 built 57,000 dwt ‘Dolphin’ type was fixed delivery Indonesia for a trip to east coast India at around $6,000 daily. A similar picture for handysizes especially in South East Asia with the Chinese New year holiday approaching – owners are compelled to wait or in some cases ballasting away agreeing ‘aps’ at significantly lower numbers. A quality 32,000 tonner in South East Asia, however, was rumoured to have gone for 2/3 legs in the mid $5,000’s.
For daily dry bulk assessments from the Baltic Exchange please visit www.balticexchange.com/market-information/